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Why We Have To Stop Spreading False Messages When It Comes To Mental Illness and Therapy

The sudden passing of legendary New York designer Kate Spade is currently dominating the media circuit as revelations of her life prior to her unfortunate suicide become public knowledge.

It’s quite disturbing to watch it all unfold as ultra-sensitive details are spreading like wildfire — thanks to the sister of the late designer who weirdly seems quite comfortable publicly discussing the personal conversations she shared with her more famous sibling.

The most unnerving aspect of Spade’s sudden and violent departure is the way it’s playing out with the same ceremonious recklessness that is typically applied to cases like these. It begins with the confirmation that the deceased did in fact do the unthinkable — and then as social media becomes a makeshift memorial — we finally get the gist of it.

She died because she was grief-stricken over the demise of her marriage — and we know this because of the extremely dangerous headlines that announce what we needed to know to make sense of why she would resort to such drastically tragic measures.

The interesting thing about the way we receive the news of a suicide is how we immediately process the reality of his or her death — which is usually by hoping that there’s some concrete reason why that person decided to end it all — especially when they’re seemingly perfect world was supposed to make them invincible.

Then as is always the way with social media — particularly Twitter — the All-Stars — who boast a massive following — then decide to use their platform as a way to engage on the trending subject of “suicide” and how they’re coping with this activated need to demonstrate the importance of self-care.

One prolific media personality who never fails to garner impressive responses whenever she drops her gems — tweeted a photo and accompanying video of her leaving the office of her therapist — and the caption included how she manages to stay “happy and whole” with these scheduled and consistent visits.

Everyone wants to prove how they’re mastered the art of detecting the best way to avoid being “that person” who refuses to sign up for the treatment that guarantees “happiness.” If we’re able to keep up with our appointments — then we are safe from the demons that make us “unhappy” enough to unexpectedly hang ourselves on a bright spring morning.

When Glee actor Mark Salling killed himself back in February — the response was that he deserved to die because of his appalling track record — that was stained from his guilty plea to child pornography. It was assumed that he took “the easy way out” — which made him a coward since he was too chicken to live out the length of his days behind bars — and then later as a recluse with virtually no rights.

There was never any consideration for the fact that perhaps Salling had been mentally deficient all his life — and it might have translated into the awful choices he made — that were beyond his control — or maybe he was able to stop and just didn’t. Either way — his decision to end his life is nothing to celebrate because it’s an indication of something that haunts more people than we would like to believe.

Kate Spade didn’t hang herself because her husband wanted to leave her against her will and so in order to get back at him or to avoid the horrific possibility of being a middle-aged divorcee — she chose to exit this world.

And going to see your therapist doesn’t guarantee that your mood will always be in the required range to keep you comfortably immune to debilitating symptoms that threaten your ability to function — without the handicap of mental instability.

When influencers tweet about how well they’re doing because of their doctor visits and encourage their worshippers to follow in their footsteps so they can be “happy” too — it sends the misleading message that in order to keep those mood-swings under control — all you need to do is adopt their regimen.

When celebrities die from suicide — we can’t begin the ritual of spreading false messaging when it comes to mental illness and therapy — as a way to assuage the discomfort that swells in us — because that’s actually taking the easy way out.

We can’t seize this chance to showcase studies that prove how middle-aged women are more prone to suicide because they’re no longer young and desirable — and feel the world closing in — and so they understandably make the hasty decision to exit before they eventually suffocate.

Mental illness is a complex disposition that is meant to be puzzling because even the sufferers can’t control what will happen from one day to the next.

Andy Spade released a statement regarding his wife’s passing — and he admitted she was struggling with depression — and was attempting to get the help she needed. The last time they spoke — she sounded fine and didn’t display any signals that trouble was ahead.

Each individual deals with their challenges in a specific way — and that means what works for you may not work for somebody else. It also means that if you’re not knowledgable about this sort of thing — you have to really mind your language and refrain from using words like “happy” — because for people like me — that’s not a realistically attainable emotion.

When you suffer from a mental illness— the dark times can happen without warning and its a jarring experience.

You could be standing in line — waiting to check in your luggage and suddenly feel the cloud hovering — and it will take everything in you to keep the rain from falling down on the exciting plans that are supposed to make you “happy” — but instead leave you helplessly despondent.

Yes — you can have all the money in the world and still feel like jumping out of the oversized window that was built to relentlessly seduce you. You can be an iconic accessories designer with the world at your feet — and still see nothing worth living for because you’re suffering from a disease that has no cure.

It’s time to dispense with the crippling cliches and the resurrection of over-shared and over-manipulated scholarly postings — that are altered to match the template of the newly deceased — for the benefit of proving the sanity of those who don’t fall into that category.

There has to be an improved effort when it comes to the way the media — and those who have the power to sway — approach the fragile topic of mental illness because lives are at stake.

Anything can be considered a trigger and only those of us who comprehend the magnitude of that truth can be earnest in our plea to always be purposely negligent when tackling issues that could be the difference between life and death.

Seeing a therapist is highly recommended — but it’s not a lifesaver — and while shitty circumstances can exacerbate vulnerable sufferers — we have to finally accept the fact that if someone makes the decision to end it all — it’s not because of a failed marriage or a disgraceful conviction or because the family business is drowning in debt.

It’s because their struggle with a lifelong disease took its toll and they unfortunately lost that fight.

Let’s work together to re-work the landscape of reportage and information sharing so we help to save lives — instead of encouraging the worst outcome for those who are triggered and raw.

Proceed with caution — always.

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